Posted 6 years ago
I've collected trunks of many types for almost 40 years and while it's not too fancy this is one of my favorites because of it's history. This small trunk was owned and used by Capt. Laffer S. Caples, who led Company D, 70th Battalion of the Ohio National Guard from Tuscarawas County which became part of the 161st Ohio Volunteer Infantry in May of 1864. They fought with the Army of the Potomac and served in Cumberland, MD, Martinsburg, WV, Staunton and Lexington and defended a supply train for General Hunter. The trunk is marked on the side with Capt. L. Caples, Co. D 70. Batt N.G. Capt. Caples is listed as leading Company E. of the newly formed 161st Ohio Volunteers.
The trunk measures only 22" wide and 14" tall and has iron bands with large brass studs. The wood was covered with a thick paper made to look like leather when new. These rounded shape trunks were usually called Jenny Lind trunks, named after her during the 1850's but the style was popular through the 1860's. Most people assume that small trunks like this were only used by children or ladies, but this proves that even an army officer would use this style. I saw a much larger trunk of this style a museum in Nashville, TN once, which was owned by a confederate general. The more elaborate models of these trunks had fancy tooled leather, brass banding and ornately trimmed interiors. Through geneology searches I was able to find the family history of Capt. Caples and that his father was a drummer in the war of 1812. His unusual first name was his grandmother's last name.